Union Varsity Pom was named the national winner of the 2010 American Spirit Award Friday by the University Dance Association – the highest honor bestowed by the organization.
The honor comes on the heels of varsity pom’s seventh consecutive state championship last weekend – eight total.
“This is a huge honor for the varsity pom squad, and I am so proud and lucky to be a part of this program and supported by such an amazing school!” coach Emily Jones said.
The squad and the coach learned of the award this morning during a surprise visit from representatives of the University Dance Association, Principal Dave Stauffer and Athletics administrators.
Stauffer congratulated the squad and coaching teams for their hard work and team spirit, representing Union at its finest.
The American School Spirit Award is given to teams that excel both on and off the dance floor, focusing on competitive success, academic excellence, school spirit and community service.
“This year, my goal was to refocus our team on involvement and service in the community,” Jones said. “We implemented new community service requirements and programs, which have ended up being very successful! Since April, the girls have completed more than 480 hours of community service – an accomplishment of which I am extremely proud. It is inspiring to see the girls giving back and making a difference, however small, in the lives of others.”
The also commended the squad for its academic achievements.
Jones said, “Academically, the girls are enrolled in a total of 49 honors classes and we have several girls taking college level classes at Tulsa Community College. Our team is an unweighted 3.6, and we have 16 girls named to the Academic All-State Team. I truly believe in the importance of education, and I am proud that the girls work hard in the classroom!
“Our program is dedicated to teaching the pillars of Character Counts, and the American School Spirit Award gave us a wonderful opportunity to teach the girls about character and instill values that will last a lifetime.”
Union’s other Pom squads have been also quite successful. In addition to Union’s Varsity Pom being co-champions with the Jenks Trojans, the 8th, 9th and JV Pom squads all won state championships in their divisions.
“This is the first time that every team has won state in the same year. Congratulations to head coach Emily Jones, her staff, and the girls!” said Chuck Perry, director of Athletics for Union Public Schools.
The Union dance squads also collected honors in competition last Friday, December 10 in state competition in Oklahoma City.
“We had a very successful weekend! Our 8th Grade Highsteppers brought home a State Championship in Kick and a third place in Jazz. Our 9th Grade Highsteppers were state champs in Kick and won second place in Jazz; they also brought home a State Academic Championship!, said Christy Wright, director of the Union Highsteppers program.
The Union Varsity Highsteppers won second place in Kick and a fourth place in Jazz. “I am very proud of all of these teams and coaches! They have worked very hard this year and I look forward to the future,” Wright said.